Friday, February 27, 2009

Bike to the Market

Beginning Saturday, February 28, biking to the All Local Farmer's Market is not only a great option, but strongly encouraged as well. In partnership with Palmetto Cycling Coalition and Bike Columbia, the All Local Farmer’s Market has developed Bike to the Market in hopes of encouraging patrons to reduce their automobile use and enjoy some fresh air. The event, which by is promoted specifically every 4th Saturday from February to June at the Rosewood Market, (on the corner of Rosewood Drive and Maple Street) will kick off the celebration by offering visitors the chance to win a free bike basket.

The All-Local Farmer’s Market operates year round, rain or shine, every second Saturday in The Vista at Gervais & Vine and every fourth Saturday at Rosewood Market. For safe and bike-friendly routes to Rosewood Market, visit And for more information of Bike to the Market and the All Local Farmer’s Market visit

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Rediscovering Locally Grown Foods

In recent years with the influx of “Big Box” stores, also came the closing of many locally owned and supported retail and grocery stores. Yet, growing concerns of depleting natural resources have spurred a renewed interest in supporting local merchants, farmers included. With much of the country still battling Wintery weather of all sorts, the idea of strolling through an outdoor farmer’s market, sun on your shoulders, the smell of fresh cut flowers in the air, may be a bit difficult to grasp. However, here in South Carolina, many of our farmer’s markets operate all year long, or are preparing to soon begin their seasonal operations.

Columbia, SC, the state’s capitol, is home to a great selection of farmer’s markets, many of which feature all-natural or organic produce, beef, eggs, chicken, lamb, pork, grains, honey, flowers, and milk from South Carolina farmers. Located in the heart of downtown is the All Local Farmer’s Market. All Local is held from 8am-12noon, the 2nd Saturday of every month at Gervais & Vine (620-A Gervais Street), and the 4th Saturday of every month in the parking lot of Rosewood Market (2803 Rosewood Drive). The Columbia State Farmer’s Market at 1001 Bluff Road invites customers in seven days a week all year round, providing patrons the opportunity to buy local any time of the week. Also downtown, yet running on a seasonal schedule, Tuesdays and Saturdays, is the Five Points Farmers Market at MLK Park, 2300 Green Street.

If you’re planning an April getaway to historical Charleston, you’ll be thrilled to know that the Charleston Farmers Market, located in Marion Square, will open April 11, and will operate every Saturday from 8am to 2pm, through Dec. 20, 2009. In addition to the huge variety of local produce, herbs, flowers and plants, this unique and longstanding farmer’s market also offers a brunch menu and live entertainment.

Located at 1354 Rutherford Road in Greenville, parons will find the Greenville State Farmer’s Market, also a year round operating facility, is open from 8am to 6pm, Mondays through Saturdays. In Florence, you’ll find the Pee Dee State Farmer’s Market at 2513 West Lucas Street. In addition to providing locals and visitors with year-round fresh food and other locally made products, the Pee Dee State Framer’s Market is one of only three open-air markets still in operation in South Carolina.

Many of the markets also support programs like WIC and accept senior checks as well. The countless number of farmer’s markets in South Carolina provide an endless supply of resources needed to live a sustainable lifestyle. Their presence in our communities is invaluable. Not only do they afford great food and other products, but they usually offer an opportunity to meet new people, mingle with neighbors, and gain a learning experience like never before. For a complete list of state wide community farmer’s markets, visit the South Carolina Department of Agriculture or Local Harvest for additional listings across the country.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Home Remedies for the Cold

Despite the fact that the Columbia area of South Carolina has been boosting 70+ degree weather for the past week, our family still couldn't avoid catching one of the many different viruses going around this Winter.

So what do we do when a cold hits us and we want to feel better without downing spoonfuls of cold and cough medicine?

Here are some of the basic home remedies that I have researched and been implementing:

-Water and other fluids- these may help to ease any congestion and aid in dehydration.

-Saline nose drops-this is a really tough one for the kiddos, but it really does work wonders!

-Chicken soup- it's not just a myth, I promise! Here is what I have found: "Scientists have put chicken soup to the test, discovering that it does have effects that might help relieve cold and flu symptoms in two ways. First, it acts as an anti-inflammatory by inhibiting the movement of neutrophils — immune system cells that participate in the body's inflammatory response. Second, it temporarily speeds up the movement of mucus through the nose, helping relieve congestion and limiting the amount of time viruses are in contact with the nose lining."
-The Mayo Clinic

-Humidity-I've learned that colds thrive in dry consitions, so I like to use the Vick's Vapor humidifier as it creates a Mentholatum warm mist. It feels great to breath in and relieves that awful stuffy nose and scratchy throat- especially while trying to sleep.

What are some of the home remidies you and your family immplement? I'd love for you to share them!

Hope you're staying healthy!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Creating a Green Hour for the Kids (and you too!)

It seems like since Winter arrived the allocated TV time around here has almost doubled, and every night I feel an immeasurable amount of guilt because of it. Sure I try to have them watch PBS and other educational shows, but there are times when I look over at them while they watch their show, their sweet little faces are just clouded over. I could yell that brownies were coming out of the oven and that they could each have ten and I would hear in response, "just a minute..."

The National Wildlife Federation has created a great and incredibly educational program called Green Hour. Each week their site provides different ideas for a Green Hour involving activities spent outdoors and away from the lure of the TV and boredom. Who can find the largest acorn? What animal does that rock look like? What does the cold weather feel like? Let's talk about it and how and why the seasons change...these are a few of the activities they provide (with much more elaboration of course). The idea is not only to get up and out of the living room, but to encourage curiosity and spend time together doing something different...

Check out their site and I hope you find it to be as motivating and inspiring as I have!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Sustainable Living- Give it a Try!

(Photo from cover of the Green Living Handbook; Saving the Planet...One Household at a Time by David Gershon)(Find more information about David Gershon and his Sustainable Living theories here )

Now that we have settled into our new community near Columbia South Carolina, I am thrilled to be back in the game of writing about my passion for green and sustainable living!

Things here are proving to be much more Eco-friendly than our last place of residence in rural Georgia. We have curb side recycling, stores that encourage customers to bring their own shopping bags, a wide variety of health, gourmet and organic food stores and restaurants, and several widely supported farmers markets. It has been exciting as well as a huge sigh of relief to me to once again be living in a community that recognizes the value of making an effort to conserve and protect the environment.

Lately, I have been gearing my interests in the direction of sustainable living. The basic concept is to reduce ones' use of the Earth's quickly depleting resources. Proponents of this movement strive to nourish their bodies through buying and eating locally grown and harvested foods (so as to reduce the carbon emissions associated with transportation as well as the wasting of gross expenses related to the cost of that transportation, for example); Support and purchase products at the retail shops and services in their own communities; simplify their lives by surrounding themselves solely with the tools and objects necessary for sustaining life, as well as for the pursuit of enjoying that life in a healthy and educational manner.

Although there doesn't appear to be an overwhelming amount of Columbia media or Internet presence regarding green living, I was exceptionally pleased to find this article about a local dairy farm spread across the front page of our newspaper the other day. It talks about one of the area's last remaining dairy farm's ambition to support itself by selling their milk under their own dairy farm name in addition to their selling it to regional and supermarket brands. I was so moved by their aspirations that I vowed to begin a search for stores which carry and sell their milk, and support their efforts through buying their milk.

Take a little time out to discover the vast local retailers, farmers and tradesmen and women in your community. For more information on how you can make some simple changes in your life to begin a more sustainable way of living, visit: